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Read about transportation and logistics management programs at the master's degree level. See typical admission requirements and common courses. Get information about career and continuing education options as well as professional certification in this field.
Students interested in becoming distribution managers can pursue a master's degree, typically a Master of Science, in transportation and logistics management or in supply chain management; Master of Business Administration (MBA) degrees with specializations in supply chain management are also available.
In these programs, students can learn about supply chain processes in global as well as domestic systems. An accredited bachelor's degree is required for admission to all programs; some programs specify that the undergraduate degree must be in business administration. Graduates of transportation or logistics management master's programs can pursue voluntary professional certification.
These degrees have several possible titles, depending on the college that confers the degree; among these are the Master of Science (M.S.) in Transportation and Logistics Management and the Master of Transportation and Logistics Management. Degree requirements are very similar, and programs typically require the completion of 30-36 credit hours.
Almost all degree programs in this area have courses in global logistics management and supply chain management. Course subjects that are generally unique to master's degree programs in transportation and logistics management include:
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), the median annual salary earned by transportation, storage, and distribution managers, including logistics managers, was $81,830 in May 2012. The BLS predicted that the employment of such managers could grow by as much as 10% between 2010 and 2020.
To enhance professional opportunities in the field, graduates can pursue certification from the Association for Operations Management (known as APICS) and the American Society of Transportation and Logistics (ASTL). APICS offers two main certifications: the Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) and the Certified Fellow in Production and Inventory Management (CFPIM). Earning either of these credentials can waive some of the requirements for earning the Certification in Transportation and Logistics (CTL) from the ASTL. A bachelor's degree is required to pursue the CTL, so many can receive this credential before undertaking a master's degree program.
Supply chain management programs are comprehensive and include the curriculum typically covered by logistics management programs in addition to marketing and customer relations coursework. These programs generally require that students earn about 36 credit hours of classes to earn their awards.
Supply chain management courses train students to analyze and evaluate supply chains and to monitor logistics systems. Students can take electives in international trade, information technology, and distribution management. Commonly required course topics may include:
A broad scope of job options is available in supply chain management. Positions exist around the world in a wide variety of industries. A sampling of jobs is as follows:
In addition to the certifications available to those with a transportation and logistics management master's degree, several other certifications are available to those with a degree in supply chain management. The Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) is a prestigious certification available through APICS via an exacting exam. The certification must be renewed every five years through a points system of professional development.
The MBA degrees in supply chain or logistics management have more emphasis on accounting, marketing, and financing than do the other degrees mentioned here. Programs teach students the best ways to transport goods while keeping in mind cost efficiency, customer service, and punctuality. These programs may also include several business courses that apply to international logistics and supply chain management.
Some schools offering the MBA degrees require applicants to have undergraduate degrees in business administration or to prove their competency in core business areas. Bridge courses (available online or on campus) may be required for those with non-business degrees or who need particular course credits to begin the MBA program's classes; job experience may be sufficient to compensate for a lack in business courses. Programs require the completion of around 36-60 semester hours, depending on whether or not the student has a sufficient background in business courses or enough applicable work experience.
A great deal of difference exists among the curricula of some of the MBA programs available, particularly in the amount of weight they give to the supply chain and logistics work. Courses deal with supply chain and logistics principles, along with courses that apply advanced management topics to the field. Here are a few of the topics covered in a typical MBA program:
Many of the job opportunities available to those with this degree are available to those with the degrees mentioned in this article. Here are a few additional possibilities: